HELP LINE: The best resolution is to simply try

CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME to 2017.

Flying in the face of what many of us thought were impossible odds, we’ve actually made it to New Year’s Day, and I know what you’re thinking …

But don’t worry because I have no intention of airing that in a family-oriented newspaper.

But the other thing you’re worrying about is (are?) your New Year’s resolutions, and I can certainly understand why.

Perish forbid that we miss the opportunity to embrace yet another opportunity for personal failure.

Let’s face it: New Years resolutions are a tradition steeped in tradition, when we allow ourselves to be bullied by the calendar and intimidated into thinking that, just because the year is “new,” that we are now required to be “new,” too.

Re-invent ourselves

So we set about deciding to re-invent ourselves, which usually means doing less of something that we’ve been doing too much of with a few notable exceptions that will remain unarticulated here.

For instance, food is always good grist for the Resolution Mill.

We can, and often do, resolve to do less of it, or do it more … responsibly or both.

An example might be: “I resolve to eliminate processed sugar from my diet and replace it with celery.”

This probably sounded eminently practical, if not inspirational, at about, oh 2:30 this morning, but its luster might be fading as the day proceeds and, for some of the more profligate among us, aspirin ceases to be the primary nutritional supplement.

So once again defeated by our own stellar lack of self-discipline, we drown our sorrows in Oreos and resolve to resolve more courageously in 2018.

The problem wasn’t that the idea was bad or that our motivation was off-track.

The “problem” was that we bit off more than we could chew.

A more realistic resolution might have been: “I resolve not to eat Oreos with both hands.”

So let’s stay with the cultural norm of vowing to do less of something that is generally viewed as physically and medically deleterious, such as eating, drinking, smoking or watching the evening news.

While doing less of any of those will endear us to people who are near to us, food still seems the most likely target, so we tend to phrase everything in terms of what we’re not going to do, or what we’re going to do less of.

Example: “I resolve to eat less.”

Less than what? Less than yesterday? Less than Thanksgiving Day?

Less than the day that you won the “1984 Rattlesnake Stew Eating International” in Yuma?

You’ve got to narrow it down. And because nature abhors, or emphatically resents, a vacuum, what are you going to do more of to fill the void left by what you’re doing less of, namely, eating?

Drink? … No, that’s wrong …

I know: Exercise. There we go.

But again we have to be more specific: Exactly what will we do and when?

“I resolve to keep the cupcakes at the neighbor’s house, so I’ll have to walk next door every time I want one.”

Well, now you’re beginning to get the hang of it, although this particular resolution might require some refinement, based on some obvious questions:

• Are your neighbors armed to the teeth with the Second Amendment, thus handicapping your ability to fulfill your resolution at 4 in the morning?

• Do your neighbors like cupcakes?

• Are your neighbors likely to share your exuberance for the task, and retaliate by storing their Krispy Kreme donuts at your house?

Don’t be discouraged

But don’t be discouraged, because you’re thinking “correctly.”

The idea is to capitalize on an opportunity to do “better” — better than we’ve done, better than we’ve been, more than we’ve been, healthier than we’ve been — so we can have the life that we claim to want, the way we claim to want it.

And so that the people we claim to love won’t have to (a) take care of us, or (b) put us in the ground because we couldn’t triumph over a fistful of Oreos.

Sure we can.

Happy New Year.

________

Mark Harvey is director of Clallam/Jefferson Senior Information &Assistance, which operates through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Community Advocates for Rural Elders partnership. He can be reached at 360-452-3221 (Port Angeles-Sequim), 360-385-2552 (Jefferson County) or 360-374-9496 (West End), or by emailing harvemb@dshs.wa.gov.

More in Life

OPEN’s Spring Tack Sale is Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 251 Roupe Road (off Hooker Road). Proceeds benefit rescued horses, minis, ponies (such as the one pictured with grossly overgrown hooves) and donkeys. Western and English saddles, saddle pads, halters, sheets, bits, bridles; western jewelry, clothes, boots and more. (photo by Valerie Jackson)
HORSEPLAY: Clean up after yourself and your horse

CLEAN UP ON aisle 7! Remember: Unlike a grocery store clerk who… Continue reading

The Olympic Kiwanis Club reports that its recent electronics recycling event was even more popular than planned for.
Kiwanis recycling event a success

The Olympic Kiwanis Club reports that its recent electronics recycling event in… Continue reading

Future Chefs contest names cooking contest winners

Sodexo and the Port Angeles School District have announced… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Get the dirt on soil

SINCE WE TALKED extensively about you growing your own award-winning vegetables, we… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Finding solace in song

WHEN OUR DAUGHTER Maggie died, I found so much comfort in listening… Continue reading

OUUF speaker scheduled

The Rev. Bruce Bode will present “Are All Humans… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Love is Orange:… Continue reading

The Rev. Cindy Akana
Program scheduled for OUUF on Sunday

The Rev. Cindy Akana will present “Nurturing Your Inner… Continue reading

Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News   
Now is the perfect time to lay down some rich, organic compost and rake in a high quality grass seed for a beautiful lawn come summer.
A GROWING CONCERN: Garden chore list grows in spring

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, the grass has risen, now’s the time to get… Continue reading

Some of the evidence recovered when they were arrested.
BACK WHEN: Jail break on the Olympic Peninsula

THE STORIES OF life and crime can take many twists and turns.… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a bastion of truth against the onslaught of lies

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth… Continue reading

Weekend hybrid program planned

Ari Ostlie will present “The Wealth of Spirit” at… Continue reading